The Broken City has a new issue out on the theme of food.  They’ve included a poem of mine, “Mashed Potatoes” which begins:

So there must be gravy
and a decision about who’s to make it.
Thanksgiving celebrates acquisitions,
mergers: his family’s sauerkraut,
her neighbor’s homegrown squash. . . .

You can read the rest of this poem, and other interesting poems about food at: http://www.thebrokencitymag.com/BC12web.pdf.  There are also stories and, at the end, comments from the contributors, who were asked to answer the question: “If we are what we eat, what are you?”

For my poem I used an epigraph, “[Mashed potatoes] . . . are to give everybody enough.” This definition comes from Ruth Krauss’s little book for little people, A Hole Is To Dig.  Krauss collected definitions from first graders for this book.  It is a wonderful early reading book which I remembered from my childhood and read to my children.

Even better for reading to children is Krauss’s book, A Very Special House. The words are spread on large pages among drawings by Maurice Sendak (before he became famous for his own books).  The “special house” is inhabited by creatures of all kinds.  A lion eats the stuffing from the chairs.  My favorite lines, remembered since childhood are:

A Very Special House

A Very Special House

And that’s not all―And that’s not all,
They’re playing toesy-woesy on the wall wall wall.

These books must have been important influences in my developing appreciation for words, rhythm and rhyme.  I’m delighted that I was reminded of her work while writing “Mashed Potatoes” and could acknowledge my debt to her. Krauss died in 1993, but her books are still in print.

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